Growing up, I was a Santa Claus believer through and through, so the Christmas tree resembled the promise of coming gifts. It served me as the symbol of all the desires that I could imagine and the anticipation of what I would find the morning of Christmas. Once the presents were open the Christmas tree lost its grasp on my attention and my hope of something to come.
I had what was going to be given to me and the anticipation of gifts had past.
The once beautiful Christmas tree that had been void of gifts leading up to Christmas morning returned to that same place of being void, as gifts found their new places through the home. Although it looked the same as it did just 24 hours before, it lost its promise and with it my excitement.
After continuing with the traditions that our parents had passed on to us, we wanted to focus our attention on more than the earthy gifts of Christmas morning, but the gifts that the birth of Jesus provided to us.
When we replaced our Christmas tree with a manger, we found our focus on knowing the best gift was already given, as Jesus was laid in a manger in Bethlehem. Having a manger as symbol of Christmas in our home has allowed us to remind ourselves through the season of Christmas and even after the gifts have been open, that we are still waiting for something…. a promise.
This simple manger has quickly reminded us that Jesus' birth was for a purpose and His gift of salvation, although is readily available to us today, it is His gift of everlasting life that has us looking at this manger as I once did the Christmas tree.
I'm longing for His promise… His coming… His gift of eternal life.
Replacing our Christmas tree with a manger has been a good thing for our family to put the focus on the gifts that Jesus' birth provide for us. This doesn't change how we celebrate with our family, but rather enhances how we anticipate the gift that is still coming.